Hyundai A-League season preview: Perth Glory

After fifth-place finishes in each of the last two seasons, Perth Glory will be desperate to find more consistency as they look to secure a top four finish.

Nearly a dozen players are gone from last season, but Kenny Lowe has again assembled a squad which is more than capable of mixing it with the competition's glamour sides.

Could Hyundai A-League glory finally be theirs in 2017/18?

INS AND OUTS

Ins: Scott Neville, Jacob Poscoliero, Joe Knowles, Mitch Nichols, Jake Brimmer, Andreu Guerao, Xavi Torres, Daniel Stynes.

Outs: Dino Djulbic, Kosta Petratos, Richard Garcia, Josh Risdon, Aryn Williams, Rhys Williams, Lucian Goian, Nebojsa Marinkovic, Mitchell Oxborrow, Jordan Thurtell, Rostyn Griffiths.

THE BURNING QUESTIONS

Is Xavi Torres the real deal?

Can Glory find a way to consistently pick up points on the road?

How much will Perth miss their influential skipper Rostyn Griffiths?

LESSON LEARNT FROM LAST SEASON

On their day, they can beat anyone.

Glory may have finished fifth in 2016/17, but they beat every other top six team with the exception of Sydney FC and also upset Melbourne City in the Elimination Final.

 

Perth Glory star Diego Castro fights off the attention on Sydney FC defender Michael Zullo.

Quite simply, they have a side capable of producing 90-minute performances which can trouble any other side in the competition.

Finding consistency, especially away from home, may well be the key.

ROAD AHEAD

Glory spend the first two weeks of the new season on the road, opening their campaign away at Western Sydney before a visit to the Newcastle Jets.

Perth fans get their first chance to see their side at nib Stadium against Central Coast in round three, before another away match against Sydney FC to round out the first month.

EXPECTED STRENGTHS

When you've got a front-line that boasts Andy Keogh, Adam Taggart and Diego Castro, goals shouldn't be an issue.

They certainly weren't last season with only Sydney FC scoring more than Perth's 53 in the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season.

The addition of highly-rated attacker Xavi Torres will further boost Glory’s attacking stocks.

POTENTIAL WEAKNESS

While the goals flowed at one end last season, they were also leaked at an alarming rate at the other with Glory conceding significantly more often than any other top six side.

In fact, Perth had the joint worst defensive record across the league, letting in 53 goals.

That situation won't be helped by the departures of Dino Djulbic and Rhys Williams, so Kenny Lowe will need to find a way of shoring up his side's rearguard.

TACTICAL APPROACH

Kenny Lowe's reputation grows every season and his ability to motivate his side and entertain the club's fan-base with attacking football is an attractive combination.

In the absence of Rostyn Griffiths, newly-acquired Spanish midfielder Andreu Guerao will likely join Brandon Wilson at the base of Glory's midfield, leaving the other freshly arrived Spaniard Xavi Torres to join countryman Diego Castro in a more advanced role.

If enough chances are created for Andy Keogh and Adam Taggart, both are capable of double-figure goalscoring seasons.

With that attacking quartet, Glory will back themselves to trouble any Hyundai A-League defence.  

BREAKOUT STAR

Brandon Wilson. There are huge wraps on the Botswana-born Australian youth international who made big strides in his first Hyundai A-League season, featuring in 22 of Glory's games in 2016/17. 

His passing accuracy and tough tackling are just two features of his game and with Rostyn Griffiths gone, the talented youngster will be asked to shoulder an even greater engine-room responsibility this season.

Those who have observed Wilson’s progress believe he is well up to that challenge and has an extremely bright future.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO

Glory's potent front-four terrorise the rest of the Hyundai A-League and score the goals which propel Perth to a third straight finals series.

The defence is tightened, points are picked up more consistently on the road and they finally claim the silverware which has so far eluded them.